How to cut baby nails?

Who would have thought that caring for a baby’s nails would be so daunting? That tiny precious newborn bundle of joy with nails like claws. If only babies were born manicured!

How and when should I care for my baby’s nails? When can i start cutting my baby's nails? What if I accidentally cut my babies finger? Will scratch mittens help? Should I use a baby nail file, baby nail clippers or baby nail scissors? These are all questions we have asked ourselves.

Some babies are born with long fingernails so you need to start caring for their nails from birth. A newborn nails are soft and flexible but as they grow so quickly, they can soon become very long and jagged.

Filing a baby’s nails with a baby nail filer is the safest method. Filing helps to keep the nail short by rounding off the edges and making sure that the corners of the nails aren’t sharp. As they grow so quickly you may need to file at least twice a week, and don’t forget their toenails too. A manual baby nail file is safer than an electric baby nail file as it gives you more control and doesn't lead to accidentally filing down the babies nail too short.

Don’t be tempted to bite the nail as this might introduce an infection and is also not a controlled method of trimming. Also don’t tear the nails off. Even if it’s just a tiny section of the nail, don’t be tempted to pull it off as you could cause an ingrown nail by doing this. 

Baby Nails® is a wearable baby nail file and was invented by myself not long after becoming a first time Mummy. It is a bladeless filing solution allowing you to care for your baby's nails whilst you feed, cuddle and care for your baby. It's the perfect baby nail care kit!

Think about when you file. It might be easier to file baby nails after bathing, when they’re softer than usual, or while baby is sleeping, when they’re more still than usual. 

As babies do not yet have control of their arm, hand, and finger movements they can scratch themselves badly. Don’t worry if they do, these things happen! Scratch mittens can help by covering the hand but even from birth babies explore their mouth, face, and even you with their hands so some experts don’t recommend their use, especially for long periods of time. I could never keep them on my baby anyway!

So, the best solution is to keep their nails short and smooth by regular filing to prevent scratches rather than covering them up with mitts. It is generally recommended that parents exclusively file their newborn nails for the first few months as even the most careful parent can accidentally snip a baby’s fingertip with baby nail scissors or baby nail clippers.

Many parents including myself find the use of baby nail clippers difficult. Babies do not stay still so it can be easy to nick their fingertip. Don’t worry too much if it happens, take a deep breath and assess the wound, accidents happen! Both scratches and cuts are treatable at home as recommended by the NHS.

For cuts, stop the bleeding by applying pressure to the area for several minutes using a clean and dry absorbent material such as a muslin, a reusable baby wipe or flannel. With a nick to the finger tip it can seem like there is a lot of blood. If you try gently raising their hand above their head, it will reduce the flow of blood. Scratches should be cleaned and should heal in a day or two. Remember don’t use a plaster as this can become a choking hazard if it becomes loose.

As your baby gets older and you become more confident with trimming their nails you may decide to try baby nail scissors. The scissors can then be used throughout childhood. Be careful not to cut the nails too short and follow the curve of the nail. For toenails cut straight across to prevent ingrowing toenails. Our Baby Nails® Baby Scissors have rounded edge tips and ergonomically designed handles that make them comfortable to hold and use to use. Scissors can sometimes leave a sharp edge so filing can help to smooth out the edge. 

Here at Thumble® Baby Care we have made it our mission to create a safe and simple solution to baby nail care.